Direct drive or belt drive, everyone has their favourite type of turntable, but often the question is which is better: Direct Drive or Belt Drive? A belt-drive or direct-drive turntable is essential if you’re looking to purchase one for your personal collection or for personal use.
In a belt-drive turntable, the platter is driven by a rubber or synthetic belt. Since the belt does not hit the spinning disk as hard as it does in a direct-drive turntable, belt-drive turntables are typically quieter than direct-drive turntables, while direct-drive turntables are also faster. An often-cited benefit of belt-drive turntables is their reliability and budget range. So our team at Wooster Audio has listed the best direct drive turntables, including Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK, Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD, Fluance RT80 etc., after testing them in our lab.
Our Recommendations For Best Belt Drive Turntables
|1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable Read More||See On Amazon|
|Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK Turntable Read More||See On Amazon|
|Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD Turntable Read More||See On Amazon|
|Fluance RT80 Classic Read More||See On Amazon|
|Crosley C100A-SI Belt-Drive Turntable Read More||See On Amazon|
Best Belt Drive Turntables Reviews
1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable
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The 1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable costs about $200. The tonearm counterweight and sophisticated anti-skating system that come with the vinyl stereo record player ensure that the stylus is balanced and rests profoundly in the groove of your record, resulting in smooth stylus movement, safeguarding your records from damage and eliminating skips and distortion.
This allows for perfect playback every time. With the help of the included Magnetic type Pre-amp, you can now enjoy vinyl playback with any amplifier. 1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable also features Line and Phono Outputs to play vinyl with or without a Phono Equalizer.
You can encode vinyl music into MP3s with this turntable’s USB connection to your computer for digital storage and playing. A fantastic, wire-free experience may be had by pairing the 1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable with Bluetooth speakers or headphones; even better, no receiver is required.
The diamond-tipped stylus cartridge tracks your record’s grooves precisely for high-definition audio. It’s easy to set up, according to users. The directions provided are decent. After the tonearm is balanced, you can adjust the tracking force and fasten the anti-skate weight.
Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK Turntable
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This quality player is $200, which is reasonable for its features. With the sophisticated capabilities of the Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK that aren’t generally available on automated turntables, take your analog listening experience to the next level—reduced low-frequency feedback coloration due to the damped base structure. The player includes an AT91R, a 1/2" mount universal headshell, and a balanced straight-tone arm. The Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge provides excellent high-fidelity performance.
Fully automated operation is available with the Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK; to start playing, press the Start button, lift and reposition the tonearm, switch off the turntable, and press the Stop button. It is made of materials that reduce vibration and decrease low-frequency feedback.
It contains a built-in switchable phono pre-amp with twin RCA outputs. These features facilitate connecting to a powered speakers or home stereo, , and other components with/without a dedicated turntable input. The player supports 33-1/3 and 45 RPM records. The AT-LP3BK is a beautiful turntable with plenty of upgrading potential for beginners who want to start collecting vinyl.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD Turntable
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Valued at $220 is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD. It has Bluetooth wireless technology, high-fidelity audio, and aptX codec compatibility.
You may quickly connect your wireless headphones or speaker using the built-in Bluetooth and phono amp, or if your source doesn’t have a phono amp input, you can join it to a line-level source. As a result, it can connect wirelessly to powered speakers, Bluetooth speakers, other Bluetooth-enabled devices, and wired audio systems.
The operation is fully automated with two speeds—33-1/3 and 45 RPM—and an anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD has a high-quality Audio-Technica cartridge in addition to a redesigned tone arm base and headshell for increased tracking and less resonance. The Integral Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge (ATN3600L) has a removable diamond stylus.
Additionally, the AC adapter manages AC/DC conversion external to the chassis, lowering signal chain noise. A switchable phono pre-amplifier (built-in) can output at line- or phono-level. The casual vinyl listener would do well to choose this. It won’t win any audiophile prizes, but on the plus side, the vinyl you play on it won’t get damaged, thanks to the design. It includes anti-skate as well as an appropriate weight setting. So overall the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is best belt drive turntable for you.
Fluance RT80 Classic
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Your pricing for the Fluance RT80 Classic will be, at most, $220. This high-quality belt-driven turntable can reproduce a performance precisely as the artist intended, thanks to the Premium components, which deliver a true analog listening experience. Superior clarity is produced with a high-grade Audio Technica cartridge. Also, The diamond-tipped stylus is made to follow the grooves of your records accurately for high-definition sound.
The S-Type tonearm’s balanced and movable counterweight lets you enjoy each note fully. While brilliantly coaxing the music out of your vinyl, the tonearm’s smooth bearing action and sophisticated anti-skating technology caress your record to prevent scratches and ensure the stylus is securely resting deep inside the groove.
Each turntable in the Fluance RT80 Classic is exquisitely made with thick, engineered wood, isolation feet, and an aluminum platter, providing the best possible isolation from undesired vibrations. A top-notch Texas Instruments pre-amp, a ground connection, and gold-plated RCA line outputs provide beautiful signal purity and warm, authentic sound. Users remark on the excellent audio quality and the clarity of the assembly instructions.
Crosley C100A-SI Belt-Drive Turntable
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Crosley C100A-SI will cost at most $170, the best price for its features and designs. The user can easily change the belt-driven Crosley C100A-SI turntable’s speed to choose between 33 and 45 RPM records. The manual start/stop controls give you total control over your vinyl records.
An adjustable s-shaped tone arm on this Crosley turntable lets you fine-tune the needle tracking force for your Crosley C100A-SI records. This turntable is immediately ready to be plugged in and utilized with nearly any audio system, thanks to its built-in Pre-Amp and detachable RCA output cords. A steady, on-axis rotation is ensured by the damped die-cast aluminum platter and felt slide pad that comes standard with the Crosley C100A-SI. Quickly change between 33 and 45. Press the button. The belt must not be moved between spindles. The belt is acceptable if you’re not trying to be a DJ.
The turntable comes in proper packaging, sets up quickly, has clear instructions, and sounds great when used with an ancient TEAC AV amplifier without pre-amp phono ports. The turntable’s integrated pre-amp eliminates the need for a separate external component for wired applications.
How we tested belt drive record players
Have you ever wanted to listen to vinyl records but wanted to avoid carrying a heavy turntable around? The belt drive record players will appeal to you since they are lighter and smaller than traditional turntables, and they turn the vinyl with gears rather than a belt. To find which belt drive record player is best for you, the Wooster Audio team tested two different models.
To test belt drive record players, the following procedure was followed:
We set up my listening environment in our living room and placed the test player near an easy-access window to allow for natural light and airflow. The needle was placed on the record player, the play button was pressed, and we enjoyed listening to the music.
The playback quality of vinyl records from various decades was tested on each player by playing several of my favourite vinyl albums. Our assessment was based on volume levels, clarity of sound, and overall satisfaction with the players' performance.
Generally, belt drive record players outperform needle-and-groove record players in terms of audio reproduction. They provide an overall more enjoyable listening experience with superior sound clarity than traditional needle-and-groove record players.
Turntables with belt drives are generally rated higher in overall quality because belt drives tend to have a more stable sound over time and less distortion.
Generally, belt drive units are constructed from better materials, such as metals and high-quality plastics when it comes to materials. It is clear that most users prefer belt drive units because they feel like they get a better audio experience with them.
Those who are looking for belt drive record players that are stylish as well as functional need to check out the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB, Audio-Technica AT-LP7, Pro-Ject DC Espri, and Pioneer PLX-1000 on our list. These record players are reliable and user-friendly so that you can enjoy your vinyl collection easily. As a bonus, its belt drive system ensures high-quality audio playback no matter what happens.
Some considerations when choosing a belt drive turntable?
Team Wooster Audio provides some recommendations to get your favourite belt drive turntable, so when choosing, some things mentioned below must be considered.
First, check the turntable build quality since you don’t want it to fall apart after a couple of months, nor do you want it to make strange noises.
Type of platter
In general, belt drive turntables use vinyl or rubberized platters. Choose a turntable with a rubberized or vinyl platter to ensure consistent sound quality and operability.
It will help if you choose the appropriate belt speed depending on the music you plan to listen to. Sound is produced more accurately when the belt speed is slower, while high-energy sound is produced when the belt speed is higher.
For louder music genres, higher-powered motors are better, while lower-powered motors are better for quieter music genres. Check the motor specs to see how powerful the turntable is.
Type of tonearm
Tonearms are one of the first things to consider when choosing a turntable. In direct drive tonearms, the platter is moved by an internal motor, while in belt drive and rocker arm tonearms, the platter is moved by belts and springs.
Turntable Sound Quality
Besides the turntable’s quality, another important consideration is its sound. Compared to direct drive turntables, belt drive turntables use less motor power and have fewer moving parts, resulting in better sound quality and a long lifespan due to their low wear and tear factor. Belt-drive turntables offer superior sound quality and a longer life expectancy than direct-drive turntables.
Belt Drive Turntable Built-in phono preamp
A belt drive turntable is usually less expensive than a traditional turntable, and it comes with a high-quality preamp, so you won’t have to buy another one later. Consider a belt drive turntable if upgrading your turntable and adding a phono preamp. Additionally, belt drives make turntables more reliable than those without belt drives.
Automatic or manual record player
You can choose between an automatic or manual belt-driven turntable based on your needs. The difference between an automatic and a manual turntable is that the automatic requires hand cranking, so you don’t have to do any work. You may prefer one over the other depending on your needs and preferences. For hassle-free listening to records, opt for an automatic turntable.
Nonetheless, if you’re someone who enjoys taking their time with each record, a manual turntable may be better for you. Moreover, belt drive turntables can be converted from automatic to manual mode so that you can choose how you want to listen to your records.
3.5 mm, USB output, Bluetooth
A belt drive turntable can be connected to your computer via USB output or Bluetooth. It also comes with 3.5 mm audio input, allowing you to connect it to your existing stereo system easily.
How is Belt Drive Turntables vs. Direct Drive Turntables?
Although torque isn’t always crucial, it might be for certain people. The players' playback speed accuracy of belt drive turntables is inferior to that of direct drive turntables. A belt drive can need to be changed over time. Elastic used in belt drives is prone to deterioration and eventual failure.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I need to change the belt of Belt Drive Turntables?
Belt Drive Turntables should have their belts replaced annually or at least every two years. It might dry up even if you don’t play your turntable frequently. Thus, this is only sometimes related to how often you use it. The platter bearing is crucial to the turntable’s speed and overall longevity.
Can you scratch on a belt-drive turntable?
In fact, it is possible, but DJs prefer direct drive units because of their larger torques and quick response times. It is still possible to scratch records on turntables that are driven by belts. It is possible that the belt-drive system introduces a slight delay in response when manipulating the vinyl record due to the use of an elastic belt in order to transfer the motor’s rotation to the platter.
Scratching effectively on a belt-drive turntable requires compensating for the slight delay after a platter is hit. For scratching techniques such as baby scratches, chirps, flares, and crabs, precise hand control and timing are required.
How to adjust Belt Drive Turntable Speed?
In some belt drive record players, you can adjust the speed by pressing a button on the front and turning a screw near the tonearm. You may take your belt drive record player to a repair shop if it does not have this feature.
Adjust the speed slowly to get used to the new setting on your belt drive record player. After familiarizing yourself with the spinning speed, you can accelerate it. Keeping your speed under control can prevent your records from skipping.
Why Should Get A Belt Drive Turntable?
You’ll need less maintenance with a belt drive turntable; it’s easier to move around, so it’s a great choice for home use, it’s more reliable than a direct drive turntable, and it is also quieter than a direct drive turntable, so it’s an advantage if you are looking for an environment where you can listen to music quietly.